As Quebec and the federal government move ahead with vaccine passports, a majority of Canadians say they are in favour of proof of vaccination systems.
According to a new Yahoo/Maru poll, 77 per cent of Canadians are in favour of having an identification system that shows whether someone is fully vaccinated or not. Of that 77 per cent, 51 per cent are strongly in favour of proof of vaccination systems, while 26 per cent say they are somewhat in favour. Of the 23 per cent who are not in favour of such a system, 15 per cent say they are not at all in favour of it.
Most Canadians surveyed are also in favour of proof of vaccination being required to use non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, bars and gyms. The poll found that 69 per cent support mandatory proof of vaccination at non-essential businesses, with 43 per cent strongly in favour. Of the 31 per cent that are against mandating vaccines at non-essential businesses, 16 per cent reported being strongly against it.
With the highly contagious Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus leading to a surge in cases in regions across the country, many businesses and governments are now considering implementing proof of vaccination systems in an attempt to stem the spread of the infectious virus.
This week, Quebec announced that it will be testing a smartphone app over the next two weeks for its vaccine passport system that will go into effect Sept. 1. Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the province, Quebec is moving ahead with a vaccine passport system that will require people to be fully vaccinated to access restaurants, bars, gyms and festivals.
On Wednesday, the federal government announced it is working with provinces and territories to develop a COVID-19 proof of vaccination system to allow Canadians to travel internationally. The government says the system should be ready by early fall.
Despite support for a proof of vaccination system, many provinces have resisted the idea. The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario have said they will not introduce a vaccine passport in their respective provinces. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week that the second dose receipt is enough proof of vaccination, and that "smart card" systems may be susceptible to fraud.
"Right now, the public – as well as many institutions and businesses – are getting ahead of the politicians when it comes to vaccine status cards," Maru executive vice-president John Wright said in an interview.
"Eight out of 10 people in this country believe there is already a segregated society with those who are vaccinated and those who aren't. Those who are vaccinated believe they should have a life that is not jeopardized by the others."
The Yahoo/Maru poll also found that 27 per cent of respondents would boycott a business that requires proof of vaccination. Another 32 per cent of Canadians surveyed would not prefer a business that requires proof of vaccination over one that does not.
Canadians surveyed are also largely in favour of mandates requiring workers in certain sectors be vaccinated, as the province of British Columbia did with long-term-care workers on Thursday. According to the poll, 71 per cent of respondents say healthcare workers and paramedics should be mandated to get vaccinated or else be fired, while 70 per cent say nurses should be mandated to get vaccinated. When it came to police, teachers and other school staff, 64 per cent say they should be required to be vaccinated.
"When it comes to who people believe should be mandated to have vaccinations, it's very simple – those people that come in contact with the vulnerable are the first that should be vaccinated, or else be fired," Wright says of Canadians' views.
The survey of 1,504 Canadian adults was conducted between Aug. 9 and Aug. 10 and has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.